There simply are no words to express how rubbish I have been to neglect my poor blog on Hotpress.com for this long. 11 months and about 30 cities later, my faith in festivals has been restored. Has anyone heard of Willowman Festival? I hadn’t, neither had your man Neville Staple from the Specials, but only a few days ago, there we both where in the hills of Yorkshire lapping it up like a dog against a pea stained lamp post. The diversity and quality of acts that took place on the same weekend which was no doubt overshadowed by the Isle of White festival and Radio 1′s Hackney weekender (more fool you guys who missed out), was superb. What is lovely about this festival is that folks of all ages joined forces in the simple quest to celebrate great music and good times. A phone was lost after hours when we were all boogieing in the reggae tent, seconds later it had been handed in. Another thing that is fab about this festival is that it hasn’t been tainted yet with giant brands promoting all and sundry at every corner, and what it lacks in backstage bar area for industry peeps to get tanked up and swoon over artists in, it makes up for in group comaderee as the bands could be spotted observing their peers with the rest of the festival attendees. This festival which is in it’s third year, reminds me of what I perceive Glastonbury to have been like in it’s early days of the 70′s – when you paid a pound entry and got a free pint of milk from the farm, then could observe the wonderment of David Bowie or Led Zep. As Utah Saints proclaimed to everyone raving it up in the rain on Saturday night, and this included barstaff and security members, ’this is a festival with soul’. Check out following blog postings for some of my recommendations of the weekend, you can check out this week’s the XClusive on RTE’s 2XM for a Willowman festival special Sunday at 4pm, or listen here:http://www.mixcloud.com/gabbysanderson/rtes-the-xclusive-on-2xm-willowman-festival-special-with-beak-the-longsands-neville-staple/ and look out for next week’s Hotpress when you can hear all about my adventures with the bands at Willowman festival.